Reigning UFC Champion Says 135-Pound King Aljamain Sterling Fears Him

Aljamain Sterling

Getty Aljamain Sterling

Reigning UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo sees “fear” in bantamweight king Aljamain Sterling’s “eyes.”

That’s what he said in a recent interview with Combate. Figueiredo has made it clear that he doesn’t plan on staying at flyweight for the entirety of his MMA career. And while speaking with the Portuguese outlet, the “God of War,” 34, said that by the time he turns 35, he won’t be able to drop the weight to 125 pounds.

So, he hopes to rack up a few more title defenses and then challenge the 135-pound champion.

“I won’t be able to cut weight for flyweight when I turn 35,” Figueiredo said, as transcribed by Bloody Elbow. “It will just not be possible. I plan to have two or three more title defenses in one year, then I’ll move up to bantamweight. Because of what I represent, I think I deserve an immediate title shot.

“I want to face the champion. I see fear in his eyes. I know he doesn’t want to fight me. I’m sure we’d put on a great fight and I’d become champion when that happens.”

Figueiredo is currently sidelined with hand injuries. The UFC has elected to introduce an interim flyweight strap while the Brazilian is on the shelf, and it’ll be on the line at UFC 277 on July 30. Figueiredo’s three-time opponent and the former 125-pound champion, Brandon Moreno, will compete for it against Kai Kara-France.

Figueiredo Recent Threatened to Leave the Division, UFC President Dana White Responded

The God of War isn’t happy that the promotion brought in an interim strap. He regained the belt at UFC 270 in January, and he doesn’t think enough time has passed for an interim belt to be warranted.

And while speaking with MMA Fighting recently, Figueiredo said that he wants a bigger paycheck, or he won’t return to the division.

“I don’t rule out this option,” Figueiredo said about leaving flyweight. “It’s up to the UFC. If we have a chat and they can increase my earnings inside the organization, then I’ll stay in the division. But, if nothing happens, I’ll be forced to move up. I’ll stay in the flyweight [division] if they increase my purse.

“I already wanted [to move up] but still wanted to fight three more fights in the division. With this decision [to create an interim title], they’ve made my decision to go up sooner 95 percent more likely.”

Well, UFC president Dana White isn’t too concerned about Figueiredo’s threat. White was featured on the “Spinnin Backfist” podcast last week, and after hearing about the God of War’s ultimatum, the UFC president simply replied: “Cool.”

Sterling & TJ Dillashaw Are on Tap for UFC 279, According to a Recent Report From MMA Junkie

Although Figueiredo would like to fight Sterling, that’s not happening next, according to a recent report from MMA Junkie. The outlet revealed that the UFC is looking to book Sterling’s second title defense at UFC 279 on September 10, and it’ll be against former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw.

“Contracts have been issued,” as per the outlet.

Sterling is coming off the heels of his first title defense, defeating Petr Yan in a rematch at UFC 273 in April. Dillashaw returned to the sport in July 2021 after serving a two-year suspension and he earned a split-decision victory over Cory Sandhagen.

Dillashaw lost his 135-pound strap after testing positive for erythropoietin (EPO), a performance-enhancing drug.

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